Strengthening Staple Food Markets in Eastern And Southern Africa: Toward An Integrated Approach for CAADP Investment Plans

T.S. Jayne
Antony Chapoto
and Jordan Chamberlin
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 1, 2011

This note highlights the major challenges facing governments and international agencies in their efforts to strengthen the performance of staple food markets in Eastern and Southern Africa. The analysis synthesizes recent analyses by Michigan State University’s Food Security Group.

Our analyses highlight the fact that even in countries that have achieved impressive grain production growth in recent years, such as Malawi and Zambia, this growth has been heavily concentrated among a small proportion of farmers. In most of the countries for which nationwide farm survey data is available, about 75% of the marketed maize output comes from 10% of the farms (Jayne et al 2010). The value of these farms’ crop and animal product sales is almost as much as the other 90% of farms. Because most poor smallholder farms have limited land and other productive assets, over half of the smallholder population is bypassed by this production growth and remain staple food buyers. For these and other reasons, rural poverty rates have remained stubbornly high even where aggregate grain production has risen dramatically.